“If a company is replacing 200 people with two thinking machines the sorts of decisions being made are not straight forward. A well-rounded MBA graduate is not just thinking about the bottom line, they’re thinking about the community.
“Once, the role of a company was to make money for shareholders. For the new MBA that’s not enough. You have to do right by all your stakeholders. You might still make that decision, but you need a framework for your thinking.”
This had to be combined the traditional MBA skills such as working in teams, workplace culture, negotiation and demonstrating resilience.
Professor Kayande said the usual path was for a student to enrol in an MBA after doing three to five years in the workplace, because they needed new workplace skills to get up the progress ladder.
He said echnology companies – which often started on a small base – needed graduates with traditional MBA skills to scale-up. And the big tech companies such as Amazon needed high levels skills like data analytics to expand their business.
Melbourne business school was doing more frequent course reviews as the pace of change picked up. Students were demanding 12-month MBAs because the opportunity cost of being away from work for 18 months was too high. There was more demand for part-time study and for classes on subjects such as workplace diversity.
Despite all the changes, Professor Kayande said the MBA would remain the core offering of most business schools.
“Whatever you study, the Master of Business Administration is a very old-world degree and you want it if you want to call yourself a leader. It’s got cachet. It’s in all the rankings. But it has come from 40 years ago and there is so much more specialisation now.
“It’s not just an MBA, it’s a health MBA or a technology MBA.”
Experience was another expectation among students. Many of them wanted to work on real-life problem solving and projects that were “impactful” on the workplace.
Internships and applied learning frequently came up in the MBA review process.
The biennial survey of MBA schools by BOSS magazine kicks off this month.
The BOSS MBA Ranking is the only domestic league table of Australian business schools and is closely monitored by universities and local and international students. The survey is sent to thousands of Australia’s brightest, most driven and successful business people who have completed an MBA in the past three years. The top three schools in 2017 were University of Sydney Business School, UQ Business School and Melbourne Business School.
The results of the 2019 survey will be revealed in the September issue of BOSS, Australia’s pre-eminent leadership and management magazine, published monthly in The Australian Financial Review.